NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is backing the call urging President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to issue an executive order creating the Negros Island Region (NIR) ahead of the law.

The EO would be the same as what the late president Benigno Simeon Aquino III issued, but it was abolished by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Lacson made his comment relative to the stand of Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez that in the meantime, sub-regions should be created for Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor while the law is underway.

The five measures seeking the establishment of NIR were approved by the Senate committee on local government in December last year.

The panel, chaired by Senator JV Ejercito, passed Senate Bill Nos. 126, 89, 812, 1422, and 1469.

Other senators who filed similar bills are Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, and Manuel “Lito” Lapid.

On the part of the lower house, the consolidated bills for the creation of NIR were also passed by the committee on local government and are expected to be tackled by the appropriations committee.

Meanwhile, Lacson said NIR was not on the agenda during their meeting last week with Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos in Iloilo.

He said that it is already given because they were with other Region 6 officials.

What was discussed with Abalos was about the government's war on drugs which will continue, but with a different approach.

The Western Visayas governors were there, along with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

“Abalos is just reaching out to the local chief executives and he stressed that he is pro-life,” Lacson said.*